"Everybody Wanna FOLK"

April 14, 2014

Here is a story how "Team of Folkers" came to Garage48 and made a prototype of an international Folk Dance mobile application in 48 hours. 

Where come the idea for FingerFolk?

A small team from Baltic Film and Media School CrossMedia MA students started to generate ideas how to promote the Estonian Song and Folk Dance festival 2014 already in April 2013. The team came up with more than 20 ideas by May 2013 and selected out 4 of them by September 2014.

One of the ideas that was selected out was FingerFolk mobile app, that would promote not just Estonian folk dances, but all folk dances around the world.

FingerFolk at Garage48, Riga

FingerFolk mobile application idea was presented first time in a "Drunken Pitch" event at Riga TechHub in November 2013, where it got the First Award (a bottle of wine, that was consumed right after the pitch). As Garage48 event took place a couple of days later in Riga, then the creators thought that it would be great to pitch the idea there also.

It went great, many people were interested and even tweeted about it, unfortunately we could not find any app developer who could actually make it. So - no team, no folk.

How to make it folking happen?

"We still need to make FingerFolk a real mobile application", we thought and found some app-makers from Latvia who would be interested to make it happen. Somewhat fortunately the "marketing manager" of FingerFolk (read: a Brazilian coursemate from BFM) had a connection to another Brazilian who had a 

connection of another mobile app develper Garage48 previous event in Tartu, who told that there might be some folking Estonians interested of this project.

So we talked with those folking Estonians and found out that this idea is folking great and lets make it happen. They suggested that Garage48 next event in Minsk is the perfect place to make it happen during 48 hours.

"Folk me", I thought, "I have been to more than 50 countries, but not to Belarus", lets go. After some quick visa issues we found ourself in the back seat of a Lux Express bus where we continued with the idea development. We had a designer, a team leader, but most importantly - "The Master Codefolker" with us. I learned from Riga that, if you want to create an app, then finding an app developer before the event is the most important thing.

Folking Minsk

After a great pitch in Garage48, Minsk, we found the idea very popular - a lot of people wanted to join our team. Team Leader Erik and the Master Codefolker Rauno finally decided that if we would like to develop the idea further, then lets just do it by ourself.

Still, a Local Folker (a person who knows Folk Dance), Tanja was invited to the team in addition to those marketing and design folkers that we met on our way to Minsk.

Tania told, that she cannot help us that much, but she knows something about local folk dances. At the beginning it was folking enough, at the end all of us agreed that without Tania, we could not make it happen. Because non of us actually knew how to folk. At least how they folk in Belarus.

Folking 48 hours

We got a 3-bedroom apartment. That means for 9 people that all will sleep in pairs and the last folker have to find his or her place if he/she wants to sleep at all.

We started to folk in Belarus. Tania showed us the moves, code and designfolkers tried to put the moves on the app. Marketing folkers made all the social media channels (FB, YT, Vimeo, Twitter etc) and invited more than 130 fans to like the idea.

On Saturday morning the Master Codefolker came up with 4*6 grid with touchable steps. Folking great, we thought for the first 5 hours of work, but by Saturday we ended up with a fight by design and marketing folkers - fighting over how the app should finally look like. Everyone had their own folking understanding of it.


When we finally saw the result on Sunday morning everyone was so happy (read: folking happy) that it is the best design ever! We used random Estonian folk background and implemented a 12-second Belarus folk dance in it. Besides, it took us at least 10 attempts to get a 100% score at the easy level. Folking Great.

Final Pitch

Master Codefolker did not stop. We had to make it as folking great as possible to make it to Final Pitch. Microsoft Award gave us an idea that we really need a Windows-working app for this. Just 20 minutes before the final pitch I had a chance to test the folking thing on my Windows 8.1 Touch Screen lapop.

Me as a marketer and the idea presenter had now folking pressure on me - everyone has done their work and now they are counting on me. Folk me if I will not make it. So instead of listening to all the other final pitches, I went outside and talked my pitch to every trashbin, threes and stones I could find nearby. Finally I was folking ready. Folking ready was also Tania, who got a Belarus folk dance costume for the app presentation.

Wait - we did not had the document camera. What the Folk? That means some quick other solution. Folk. Fortunately we have the Windows desktop app - I can show it from my computer. Why the folk not?

So there were the awards. We got the Windows Awards. The Nokia Lumia phones. Again - folking great.

What the folk next?

Next morning. Apartment 14, Belarussia street 17. Everybody are packing things. Suddenly there is a song from the radio: "I can see clearly now when the RAIN is gone". There was a great laugh about it as the designer Rain was still there. And he still is.

Some hours later. At the Lux Express bus from Minsk to Tallinn. I saw that the Master Codefolker Rauno in front of me has a black screen with thousands of codelines and tries to make the Country selection slide to work, next to me are designfolkers Fred and Rain who were talking about the Estonian Folk Dance designs. Folk Yeah. "This Folk will never stop", I thought.

And it will not stop. The Codefolker understood that he has to make adding new folk dances into the app as easy as possible and he is working on that. Then he could be saved from the harcore group folk that he had to make in Belarus.

For the marketing folkers Garage48 was just a beginning. After the final pitch we went out to local nightclubs. With FingerFolk t-shirt. Even as we did not know the local language it was easy to invite girls and barmans for a round of fingerfolk. On a mobile of course. So this app is great also for pick-ups or at least a small-talk.

Back at home the manager of Estonian Public Broadcasting said that if we can show a great folk then we could have TV presence in some of our most famous TV shows. Is this a motivation do develop the app even further? Folking yeah, again.

There was a great discussion in our group about what should be the slogan of FingerFolk. It should be short and evocative. And known. So why not use an expression "Everybody Wanna Folk". If you agree then join the FingerFolk fanclub and be the first who can download the app.




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